Expressive technologies, like any other media, will say whatever their creators want them to say and do what their creators want them to do. Surveillance? Entertainment? Worship? Porn? You can count on all of the above, and everything in between.
Usually, when you talk about interactive multimedia software Max/MSP and real-world sensor inputs, you expect live music performance. Multimedia artists Matt Ganucheau, Kyle Machulis, and Kelly Moore took their project in a different direction, building a mannequin that would respond interactively to simulate female pleasure.
Donald Bell (aka electronic musician Chachi Jones) describes this among other projects recently shown at the adult-only tech fair Arse Elektronika (a reference to the artsier European new media show Ars Electronica).
It may sound like Weird Science, but Matt promises that Lisa’s technology is nothing mystical. A cutaway in Lisa’s back reveals a Make controller board that works as a hardware router for all the touch-sensitive sensors mounted on the mannequin’s more sensitive areas. A USB plug found on Lisa’s ankle connects to a nearby computer that handles the software end of things. Matt developed Moaning Lisa’s unique software using a visual programming language called Max/MSP. The program uses a neural networking algorithm to monitor all of Lisa’s sensors and determine her state of excitement, which in turn modulates both her volume and number of moans.
More on Donald’s new blog for CNET, MP3 Insider (which I think will be far cooler than that blog name implies):
Weird science: Lisa the foreplay robot [CNET MP3 insider]
Making the ‘Moaning Lisa’ [CNET crave]
Donald also shot a video, but its adult subject matter and mannequin nipples were deemed too hot for CNET. As I said, technology clearly has a full range of possible applications, so I’ll leave it to you to decide. I’m not necessarily building a Lisa, but I assume you can determine on your own whether you find this offensive and choose whether nor not to watch. Not-safe-for-work / those who don’t like nude mannequins and iPod-powered sex toys:
Still not weird enough for you? Here’s the Electric Orifice Orchestra, which uses inputs responsive to pressure changes from, erm, places where the sun don’t shine. “Alternative controllers” doesn’t really fully cover this, though I suppose it makes economical use of your body.
Lots of additional photos from Chachi, including what I know really gets CDMers’ pulse racing: big, juicy, up-close photos of Max/MSP patches. (Okay, maybe I’m just projecting.)